Rav Moshe Shternbuch – Trouble Deciding, Can You Draw Lots?

rav sternbuch shlitaThe Shulchan Aruch says (YD 179:1) that you may not ask about the future in stars or in lots (Goral).  It seems from here, says Rav Moshe Shternbuch (1:856), that if you are undecided in a matter it is forbidden to draw lots. However, says Rav Shternbuch, he remembers his father-in-law once asked the Chazon Ish if when he is unsure what to do, whether he can write on two pieces of paper and draw one and follow what it says. The Chazon Ish said that he is permitted to do so, but Rav Shternbuch says that he didn’t hear the reason for permitting this seeming violation of halacha.

Maybe, says Rav Shternbuch, that the issur in the Shulchan Aruch is if someone is sick and you draw lots to see if he will live or die and then you believe the outcome.  However, when a person is faced with a dilemma what to do and has two equal choices which he cannot decide between, he may draw lots to help him choose a course of action and daven to Hashem that the right outcome will come up in the goral.  In this case it is not assur because the Goral is not determining anything in any way. It is just helping him move forward and breaking his indecision without him trusting or relying on any power other than Hashem.

Author’s Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of ourability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Pleasealso understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on thistopic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions. Revach.

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  1. I’m not sure what to do. I want to go to Israel with my friend for 2 weeks, but not sure if it’s the right decision. So, I’m allowed to make a goral in this situation?

  2. See Birchei Yosef (The Chida) Yoreh Deah Siman 179:8 where he clearly writes that it is permitted to seek counsel from the Torah via such Goralos.

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